Recent House bill allows over the counter sale of Narcan

South Dakota's Legislature made Narcan easier for people to have on hand in case someone overdoses.
Published: Mar. 27, 2023 at 7:33 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Earlier this month Gov. Kristi Noem signed a bill into law that would make Narcan available for purchase from drug stores.

This medicine was previously only available to first responders when treating an overdose, but now places like pharmacies and drug stores can carry it over the counter. The Chief of EMS for Rapid City says this change has the potential to save lives because it would allow people to help those suffering before EMS could respond.

“Of course it’s going to help, having this out in the community right there when a person first realizes that there is a problem that there is a potential overdose that has happened. To be able to get that person to be effectively breathing again is the number one goal,” said Brent Long, the division chief of EMS for Rapid City Fire Department.

Long wanted to emphasize that not every overdose is intentional. In some cases the person suffering from the overdose has done so accidentally by taking medication prescribed to them. A doctor from Monument Health explains just how vital it can be to have someone ready to help before and after the incident.

“It’s a very short half life so that means once you give the Narcan it will help the person wake up from their overdose but it will wear off more fast than the opiate itself and so its important to also call for medical help because the Narcan won’t last as long as the opiate,” said Brook Eides, the medical director of Emergency Medicine at Monument Health.

Long says that this medicine should be given to patients by someone familiar with it but wanted to reassure people that Narcan is harmless to those who are not overdosing.